13 May 2020

Knock On Wood

Q. Why do so many of us knock on wood to stave off bad luck? . A. As far as superstitions goes, wood-knocking is ever popular. A 2012 CBS News poll estimates that: • 51% of us knock on wood to escape bad fortune. • 16% will not open their

08 May 2020

Wedding Chocolate

Q. How and when did chocolate become so popular at weddings? A. Photo-engraved chocolate bars, DIY chocolate buffets, chocolate dipped meringues, pyramids, bacon, truffle diamonds. Every year, brides and grooms get more creative in how they work chocolate into their wedding days. And why not? If you’re going to incorporate one

06 May 2020

Broken Breaking News

Q. Is the new news dichotomy either: feel good news or Breaking News? A. Hats off to the tireless journalists of integrity who fight to bring us the truth. But, it’s hard for them to get through a story without the ticker text or their producers directing them to: hold

01 May 2020

Fast As A

Q. It’s incredible to watch animals take back their environs as we non-essential worker humans shelter safely at home. Lions sleeping in the middle of the road, bears frolicking in trees, wild boar eating their way through city greens. But, if and when we start intermingling again, it would be

25 Apr 2020

Translation Terrors

Q. Which English words are most difficult to translate? . A. Gobbledegook. Serendipity. Plenipotentiary. These are the most difficult English words to translate, according to a Today Translations survey of 1,000 linguists. ‘Plenipotentiary’ is the worst. Plenipotentiary is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as: plenipotentiary. a person who has full

22 Apr 2020

Baked Alaska

Q. When and why did we start Baking Alaska? A. Who wouldn’t be excited about a meringue topped, ice cream cake dessert? And what about the Bombe version that arrives covered in rum-fueled flames? Baked Alaska, particularly popular in the 50s and 70s, had a resurgence in May of 2012,

17 Apr 2020

Secret Drawers

Q. In what type of antique am I most likely to find a hidden compartment (hopefully stuffed with long-forgotten treasures and expensive secrets?) A. Secret compartments were particularly popular in the 18th Century. Craftsmen employed great imagination and tricky mechanics to conceal hidden storage in valences, wardrobes, hollow dividers or

15 Apr 2020

Spilling The Tea

Q. Why do people talk about ‘spilling the tea’ when they are gossiping or revealing hidden truths? . A. It’s an expression popularized by black drag culture, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary. The ‘T’ that was being spilled could also stand for ‘Truth’, as evidenced in an interview with The

14 Apr 2020

Words For Lockdown

Q. What are some unusual or forgotten words that might apply to our current lives under lockdown? . A. From Ben Schott’s Schottenfreude. German Words For The Human Condition. 2013 • Haarmonie Reassuring your hairdresser. • Kühlschrankblockade Staring at the refrigerator, hungry but unsure of what to eat. • Saukopfsülzensehnsucht

11 Apr 2020

Signs To Keep Them Honest

Q. Is there anything you can do to inspire people to pay up when they’re not being monitored? . A. Well, you might start by painting some eyes in the vicinity. In one study, University of Newcastle researchers Melissa Bateson, Daniel Nettle and Gilbert Roberts kept their eyes on an